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Professor Rita Raley
Department of English
Office: 2703 South Hall
Office hours: Wednesdays, 1:30-3:00, and by appointment
Class: MW 6:30-7:45pm, Broida 1610


Bianka Ballina: Tuesday, 10:00-10:50, 11:00-11:50; office hours, Tuesday, 12:00-2:00 pm, SH 2432G [biankaluba at gmail]
Billy Collins: Tuesday, 2:00-2:50, 3:00-3:50; office hours, Tuesday 4:00-5:00, Wednesday, 2:00-2:50, SH 2432R [william00 at umail]
Scott Kneece: Wednesday, 8:00-8:50, 9:00-9:50; office hours, Wednesday, 10:00-12:00, Starbucks in UCen [scottkneece at umail]
John Schranck: Wednesday, 10:00-10:50, 11:00-11:50; office hours, Wednesday, 4:00-6:00, Phelps 6331 [jschranck at umail]
Lia Simon: Wednesday, 4:00-4:50, 5:00-5:50; office hours, Mondays, 12:00-2:00, SH 2432U [osimon at]

As the title suggests, this course will provide an introduction to the discipline, practice, and methods of literary study. Such a course can never be truly comprehensive, but you will come away with more than a basic understanding of literary analysis as a professional and research-based activity. What this means in part is that we will consider what it means to “read well” or to “read like a professor.” More specifically, we will study issues of authorship and textuality; semiotics; different reading practices (symptomatic, surface, close, distracted, machine-assisted); different genres (novel, short story, poetry, graphic novel, play, speculative fiction); and some qualities or aspects of the literary (e.g. poetic form, narrative structure, allegory, character, tone). As befits our historical moment, we will also spend some time with the inevitable questions: Why? What is the place of literature in our contemporary media and informatic environments? What is the value of a humanities education? Shouldn’t everyone simply do vocational training or major in business or STEM fields? After some consideration of the history and culture of the book, along with an overview of the ways in which computational tools and techniques have transformed both creative production and textual analysis, we will conclude with speculations on the futures of reading and writing.

Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves
Herman Melville, Bartleby, a Scrivener
Manjula Padmanabhan, Harvest
Charles Dickens, Hard Times

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